Wanted: Marijuana Freedom


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In my May article “A Pantry Full of Marijuana,” I pined for the day when “governments across America will consider it none of their business how much marijuana people have in their homes, cars, purses, or wherever.” Such has long been the situation with legal alcohol. However, while the momentum for marijuana legalization across the Untied States remains strong, the marijuana legalization that materializes continues to have many burdensome strings attached, including limitations on how much marijuana a person can legally possess.

Over at the Future of Freedom Foundation, Laurence M. Vance presents a detailed case in support of removing the limits on the amount of marijuana people can possess. In his Tuesday article “Marijuana Legalization vs. Marijuana Freedom,” Vance argues that, while marijuana has been legalized for medical, recreational, or both medical and recreational use in much of America, the marijuana legalization falls far short of recognizing marijuana freedom because of government restrictions bound up with the legalization. In particular, Vance focuses in his article on pervasive restrictions on how much marijuana people can possess in contrast with the laissez faire approach taken toward the amount of alcohol people can possess.

Discussing in his article marijuana laws in California and Colorado under legalization as examples, Vance writes:
Why can residents of California only possess one ounce of flower or eight grams of marijuana concentrates without penalty? Why is the unlicensed sale of any amount of marijuana a misdemeanor subject to up to six months in jail and a $500 fine? Why can only six marijuana plants be cultivated at home for recreational use? Any more is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine. Why is the possession of marijuana paraphernalia legal but not its sale unless authorized by law?

Why can residents of Oregon only possess one ounce of flower or five grams of marijuana concentrates without penalty? Why is public use of cannabis punishable by a fine of up to $1,000? Why is possession of more than two pounds (at home) or four ounces (in public) of marijuana punishable by a maximum of one year in prison and up to $6,250 in fines? Why can you give to someone only up to one ounce of marijuana? Any more is punishable by up to $2,000 in fines. Why can only four plants be cultivated at home for recreational use? Why is growing more than eight plants a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and $125,000 in fines?

In either state, adults can purchase a case of beer or a bottle of whiskey every weekend, drink every drop, and get drunk out of their minds. But as long as they get drunk as a skunk in the privacy of their own homes and don’t neglect or abuse their children or drive while intoxicated, their state and local governments will leave them alone and be happy to collect the taxes on alcoholic beverages.

Marijuana should be no different.
Read Vance’s article here.

* Originally published at the Ron Paul Institute

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